The following excerpts are from the book, Wake-up Call: What Every Husband Needs to Know, by Gary and Joy Lundberg. Their book, written for people of all faiths, can be downloaded for 99cents at 

Book cover - husbands

Like Ice Water in Your Face

Have you ever had a cup of ice-cold water thrown full force in your face while you were sleeping? If not, you can easily imagine the jolt it would give. You would definitely—and suddenly—be awake. Wide awake.

You may not be too happy with the person throwing the water, but if it ended up making a huge difference in your life, you would be extremely grateful. 

With this in mind, we’ll start with a metaphoric splash in the face. We want you to wake up and realize what might be happening in your own marriage by seeing what’s happening in someone else’s. It’s difficult for people to see their own faults, but so easy to see them in others. So, keep reading and discovering. You might be surprised by what you are soon to learn about being a husband. At the very least, in the following story, you will see the selfishness of one insensitive husband. And the anger of one very frustrated wife.

Some of these things will apply to you and some will not, but all will be beneficial for every husband to read and ponder. With your eyes wide open, here we go.

“I’m Through!”

Our friend Crystal (not her real name), married twenty-five years, surprised us with an unexpected visit. She was deeply troubled and angry at her husband. She had had it!  The words came spilling out. “I can’t take his disrespect for me any longer! I’m through!”
She was extremely upset and her frustration spewed out like an erupting volcano. “I do everything for him. I fix his breakfast, I pack his lunch, I fix dinner, I do his laundry, I do everything! I even give him a massage when he’s tired. And he does nothing for me in return. Nothing! And, on top of that, he expresses no appreciation for all I do. I’m done!”
We let the venting continue, then asked a couple of questions. “Does he work hard earning a living? Is he still attending church with you?” We knew they were both actively involved members of their church.
She answered, “Yes, to both questions, but nothing at church is sinking in. I have a part-time job and work hard, too. He doesn’t care. I write out the checks and pay all the bills. He’s so thoughtless he won’t even put his dirty clothes in the hamper, just throws them on the floor and the furniture. It’s like he never met a hanger in his life. And his smelly socks are just tossed on the floor in our bedroom. He says he’ll take me on a date or an overnight trip but it just doesn’t happen or if it does, which is rare, we only go where he wants to go, not where I want to go. I simply don’t matter to him!”    
“Is there more?” we asked, thinking she might as well dump the whole load while she had the chance. 
“Yes! He won’t listen to me. And I told him he never listens to me.” He said, ‘Yes, I do. I just choose to ignore what you say.”
Appalling! It’s a good thing he wasn’t present or we would have been sorely tempted to give him a well-placed NCIS head slap. 
Crystal didn’t want to divorce her husband, she just couldn’t stand being treated like a servant any more. She said she didn’t mind doing some things for him, but not everything. “And,” she said, “some words of appreciation would definitely help.” We gave her a few suggestions about how to set boundaries, and encouraged her to keep praying and hold on.
Fortunately for him (and her), that weekend a worldwide meeting for men of their church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was being held, and he attended the meeting. She had no idea what was going to be said there. 
After the meeting her husband came home, didn’t say a word about the talks, just began immediately to change. Yes, immediately. The following days were even better. She was amazed. Apparently he had listened to what had been said and took it to heart. An answer to her prayers.
She wondered what had been said that made the difference. Soon the talks given that night were published for all to read. Here is an excerpt from the talk given by the church president, Thomas S. Monson, that might have caught her husband’s attention. Read and see for yourself what must have been this man’s wake-up call.  

Wisdom from the Wise

Being deeply concerned about the number of divorces taking place and finding that the majority of them were initiated by “women who tried desperately to make a go of the marriage but who, in the final analysis, could not overcome the problems,” President Monson had a message for the men. Addressing the husbands, he said, “Your wife is your equal. In marriage neither partner is superior nor inferior to the other. You walk side by side as a son and a daughter of God. She is not to be demeaned or insulted but should be respected and loved.” (Thomas S. Monson, “Priesthood Power”, Ensign May 2011)
He went on to quote a previous church leader, Gordon B. Hinckley. Before you read his statement it’s important for you to know that every worthy man in the LDS Church may be ordained to the priesthood, as was the case with Crystal’s husband. Hinckley said,  “Any man in this Church who … exercises unrighteous dominion over [his wife] is unworthy to hold the priesthood.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Personal Worthiness to Exercise the Priesthood,” Liahona, July 2002, 60; Ensign, May 2002, 54. 8)
It sounds like giving serious attention to your wife is vital to being a righteous, worthy member of this priesthood.
Husbands, this may be the perfect time to take a look at your own marriage, your own worthiness, whatever your religious beliefs may be. What are you doing to show respect to your wife? Do you show this respect by helping with home duties and paying attention to her needs and desires? Are you “demeaning or insulting” to your wife? Are you treating her like a servant, or an equal partner?   

Take the Leap

Be brave and ask your wife how you measure up. Better to know now and correct the problems than to be blind-sided by divorce papers later on. When you ask, don’t get upset at her answers or try to justify your actions. Just thank her for her honesty and make your plan to improve.
We recently learned of a young couple whose wife suddenly walked away from the marriage. He knew they were having some communication struggles but had no idea she was carrying such animosity toward him. He came home from work and found that everything of hers was moved out. Her clothes, all personal items, and half of their joint possessions. Furniture and all. She was gone. He was stunned. Clueless. She filed for divorce and was not to be persuaded otherwise. A sad end to what might have been.
Several years ago this same thing happened to a friend of ours. He, too, was stunned. In both cases these young husbands’ hearts were broken. It was so sad and so unnecessary. Maybe if these husbands had examined more closely how they were treating their wives their marriages could have been saved. In the latter case, children were involved and have suffered a world of hurt from the divorce of their parents.
From the same talk previously cited, Thomas S. Monson went on to say, “If any of you are having difficulty in your marriage, I urge you to do all that you can to make whatever repairs are necessary, that you might be as happy as you were when your marriage started out.” He urged couples to do what it takes to make their marriage lasting. He then added, “I realize that there are situations where marriages cannot be saved, but I feel strongly that for the most part they can be and should be. Do not let your marriage get to the point where it is in jeopardy.” (Thomas S. Monson, Ibid.)
And so we ask the question, Is your marriage in jeopardy? If so, do what it takes to “make whatever repairs are necessary.”

What Matters Most to Her

It is vital that husbands become aware of what matters most to their wives. In fact, what matters most to her must be top on the list of what matters most to you. If you love and adore her, then let her know by your actions. Do not diminish what is important to her. If you can’t figure out what matters to her then ask her. As you pay attention to this, showing honor to her, she will return the love and will, likewise, honor you. What matters to you will then become vitally important to what matters to her.
We have noticed that far too often when divorced men come in for counseling they say they didn’t even know anything was wrong. It’s as if they have blinders on. 
Husbands, you need to know that a divorce does not come out of the blue. There may be one final act that pushes a wife over the top and she can’t take it any more, and then, Wham! The marriage is over. But it doesn’t just suddenly happen. You can be sure it’s been brewing for quite some time. And you didn’t even notice. That’s sad.

We’ll now skip to the chapter called “Ask Yourself”. These are questions to help in your self evaluation of what you need to do. In the book there are 22 questions. Due to limited space we will choose 6.

Important Questions

Here are questions to ask yourself and act upon so you won’t one day see your wife packing up and moving out. These less than admirable traits are so common that we’ve given them their own titles, followed by questions you need to ask yourself. You just might recognize some of them as your own failings, or that of some other clueless husband you may know. At any rate, look them over and see if the shoe fits. If any of them do, it’s time to make a change.

1. The Couch Plopper 

Do I come home after work and plop down on the couch or in an easy chair with the TV remote in hand?

How would you feel after a day of hard work on your part if your wife plopped down on the couch when you came home, turned on her favorite program —or any program—and said, “I’m done for the day. You take over and do dinner and take care of the kids’ needs.” What if, in fact, you had worked hard all day, too. It’s just that she didn’t see all the work you had been doing and assumed you must not be nearly as tired as she. Would you resent having all the family responsibilities suddenly dumped in your lap? 
You may have been thinking that your wife is a stay-at-home mom and therefore has just been lying around or doing what she wanted most of the day. But as for you, well, you on the other hand, have been working hard all day and deserve the evening off. We have one thing to say: just try doing all that your wife has done in order to keep your home fires burning day after day and hour after hour. 
To name a few things, she probably has been chasing your toddler all over the house throughout the day. Toddlers don’t stay put. They run. If you decide to take them for a walk outside, that’s double trouble. They run even faster in open areas. It takes an alert mom to keep tabs on little ones. These little ones, by the way, are half yours. 
“Oh,” you say, “they just played in the park. What’s so hard about that?” OK, Mr. Head-in-the-sand, just try putting that child in a swing and pushing, time after time, while he hollers “Again, Daddy, again!” Then helping him up the slippery slide ladder and running to the end to catch him so he won’t get hurt. And hearing over and over, “Again, Daddy, again!” A walk in the park is anything but what the name implies when you have a little one along. 
We’re not saying it isn’t rewarding and even fun at times, but we are insisting that it’s downright exhausting. Then when it’s over, or even before it began, the hard work is just starting. There’s laundry to do, dinner to fix, a house to clean up, kids to help after school, shuttling them to lessons, games, doctor appointments, or, in many cases, helping out at school when there are special project days. The list is endless. 
This is a simple review of what most wives go through on a daily basis. When you add full or part-time out-of-home employment, and you think it’s her duty to do what it takes most women all day to do, then you are without a doubt heading for big trouble. Think how these wives would feel if their husbands came home and plopped in that easy chair and zoned out on TV. It would be the proverbial last straw. She needs your help! And, if you love her like you claim to, then you better dig in and give a helping hand. Get the jobs done together and you’ll have more time to enjoy each other when the kids are in bed. It will be more than worth it. 
That doesn’t mean you can’t take a minute to catch your breath after a day of hard work. It just means that the breath-catching needs to be brief. It will mostly take place after the main family duties are done. Then you both can catch your breath.

2. The Lack-luster Kisser

Do I kiss my wife in an affectionate way when I come home from work, and ask what I can do to help?

You would think that kissing with passion would be automatic. After all, you love this woman. Right? Of course, you do. Problem is too many forget how to keep the passion going. And we don’t mean in the bedroom (that will come later in the book). We mean in the little things that keep on saying, “I love you.” 
So pucker up and kiss your forever mate with all your heart. You haven’t seen her all day. Let that kiss say how glad you are to be in her arms again. Which means that the kiss needs to have some arms doing what arms need to do during a kiss. Wrap them around her and bring her close like you used to when you first got married and during your courting time. Kiss her like you mean it. Give the kind of kiss that lets her know you still love her with all your heart. Then say the words, “I love you.” She’ll love you for it and will respond in a manner that will be surprisingly rewarding to you.
Now to the next part of the question. After the kiss do you ask her what you can do to help out? If not, then do it. If she says she has it under control, open up your eyes and see what you actually could do to give her a hand. If she’s peeling potatoes for dinner, take over that duty and free her up to do something else that needs her special touch. 
Or get down on the floor and play with the kids so she can be free of their whining while she finishes dinner or whatever else she may need or want to do that minute. The point here is, ask her what you can do that would be most helpful right then. 

3. The Kid Avoider  
Do I send the kids off to their mother when they need some help? 

It’s just too easy to say, “Go ask Mom.” That response deserves a poke in the eye. When your child asks for some help, just give it. Maybe your nose is in the computer and your child holds her foot up to you and says, “Daddy, I can’t get this knot out of my shoelace.” You’re fascinated by what’s on the screen and you shoo her away with a, “Go ask Mom.” Poke in the eye for sure. 
What makes you think what you are doing is so much more important than what your wife is doing? Take the minute or two needed and solve the problem, cheerfully. Your child will feel more loved by you and so will your wife. Marriage is a dual task—we help each other with the mundane. Life is pretty much made up of the mundane, but when you add all the mundanes together they end up being a pretty important chunk of your life. Those are the moments that seal the deal in marriage. 
There may be times when a child asks you something and you really don’t know the answer or what to do. You can easily handle this situation by saying, “Let’s go talk to Mom about this.” Then find out if Mom has the answer. If you’re not with your seeking child when he asks your wife for help, she may respond with, “Go ask your Dad.” If that happens your poor child will be caught in an endless feeling of frustration.     
This reminds us of an experience a friend of our shared with us. He wasn’t ready for morning to come when his little girl slipped into their bedroom and, with book in hand, came to his bedside. She said, “Daddy will you read me a story?” 
I was tired, so I said, “Go ask Mommy.” She went around to the other side of the bed to where her mother was just awakening. She said, “Mommy, will you ask Daddy to read me a story?” He got the point. There are times kids just want a time to be with their daddy.
That brings us to another aspect of avoiding the kids. When bedtime comes do you take your turn tucking them in? Do you leave this duty up to your wife? Or do you just send them off with an impatient, “Get to bed! Now!” 
Kids need the comforting assurance that comes from a parent caring enough to tuck them in. That will sometimes involve a bedtime story, or a little back massage, a calming lullaby, or sometimes just a hug and kiss with the words “I’m so lucky to be your daddy. I love you. Sweet dreams.” This need only take a few minutes, but that few minutes will open up a trust between you and your child for years to come.
We were talking about this to a father of six. He said, “There’s a big payoff when you tuck your kids into bed. After spending a few minutes with our little five-year-old daughter a couple of nights ago, she looked at me and said, ‘You’re the best daddy in the whole world.’ At that moment I knew it was worth all the effort.” That’s the child who will want to keep her father in the loop of her life when she’s a teenager and beyond.    
There will be nights when a crying infant needs attention. When a devoted husband takes a turn to give his exhausted wife a chance to catch some rest, he rises higher on the ladder of hero husbands. Challenging times with offspring require the help of both parents. 
Take time to enjoy your children. Playing a game with them, teaching them how to do a magic trick, throwing a ball with them, reading a story, helping them say their bedtime prayers, eating a snack together, or anything. Just being with them and having fun will cement your relationship with them and endear you to your wife. It’s a virtue a woman loves in her man.
Bottom line is: Taking care of the kids is not just your wife’s job. They need Dad cheering them on at games and concerts, helping with homework, counseling at a time of crisis, or comforting when they have an owie. Sometimes kids just need the loving hand of their big strong daddy—no matter how young or old they are. You matter to your children. 
It’s not about taking your turn babysitting. Dads don’t babysit. They take care of their kids because they are his. Babysitters are hired hands. Doing daddy duty is part of what is expected of a good father. 
A noted sociologist, Dr. David Popenoe, is one of the pioneers of the relatively young field of research into fathers and fatherhood. He said, “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home. Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.”  (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children”,
Man up to this sacred duty. Your wife will love you all the more for it.  

4. The Clothes Tosser

Do I take care of my own clothes by hanging them up, and putting dirty ones in the hamper, including my dirty socks?

Colleen told the story of what happened during the early part of her marriage. She said, “My husband is a great guy in so many ways, but he was a slob.”  She elaborated, “He loved gardening and that’s where he would unwind after a day at work. We had an enclosed porch on the back of the house where he kept his gardening clothes. When he came home from work he went there, would take off his nice clothes, drop them on the floor of the porch and put on his gardening clothes. When he came back in from gardening he would drop those dirty clothes on the floor before coming into the house.” 
She said, “Over and over I had asked him to please just pound a couple of big nails in the wall of the porch and hang his clothes on them. He never would.”
So, one day, out of desperation, she went out on the porch and pounded a couple of large nails in the floor where he dropped his clothes and “hung” his clothes on them. When he came home she said, “Be sure to hang your clothes up on the nails I have conveniently provided for you.” She said he didn’t see the humor, but that day he pounded nails in the walls to hang his clothes on, and used them ever after. It worked. Sometimes a wife’s gotta do what a wife’s gotta do. 
Guys, you need to wake up and take care of your own clothes. Your wife is not your mother. And you are no longer a child. Hang up your still-clean clothes and put the dirty ones in the hamper. Simple. While your at it, teach your sons to do the same, or they’ll likely follow your tossed-clothes example and end up in the same situation with their own totally annoyed wife. Save them and yourself from this unnecessary misery.

5. The Laundry Shirker

Do I help with the laundry?
We’re not saying you have to do all the laundry all the time. But we are saying you need to give a helping hand. If you have kids at home then you know full well how high that pile of laundry can get. It’s amazing how quickly it can grow the very next day, right after the clean laundry has been put away, or even before it’s been put away. Where do all those dirty clothes come from? Well, part of them belong to you. What a revelation. The rest from those little people who have your nose. This hints of your responsibility to pitch in. 
If you walk by the laundry room and see those piles of clothes that were so recently clean and fresh, how about sorting through and sticking a load in the washer, just for the heck of it. You know, just to put a smile on your honey’s face. What an original thought. Oh, be sure to do it right—you know, separate the lights from the darks.
Or you might see a pile of these duds all clean and practically screaming to be folded and put away. Do you push them aside on the couch and assume the not-my-job position? After a hard day’s work on both your parts, what’s so tough about folding a few clothes and enlisting the kids’ help in putting them away? Even turn it into a game and make it almost fun.
Have you noticed how clean socks stack up, screaming to find their mates? If you really want to win over your wife, start matching socks and set them in their own little piles ready for their owners to claim and put into the proper drawers. This is a sure-fire love enhancer.
6. The Gratitude Evader 

Do I tell my wife how much I appreciate her and all she does?
You can get so used to all your wife does for you and your family that you forget all about saying “Thank you.” Those two words are basically priceless. Look back at the scenario at the beginning of this book. Crystal was crying out for some appreciation from her husband.    
When you say thank you to your wife, it gets you out of thinking about yourself and thinking about her. Gratitude means you notice and appreciate someone. There is a truth about gratitude, stated simply by Zig Zigler, “The more you recognize and express gratitude for the things you have, the more things you will have to express gratitude for.”
Can you think why that is so? Think about how you feel when your wife thanks you for something you have done. It makes you more willing to do more. Expressions of gratitude grow goodness and nourish marriage relationships.
Here are just a few of the times you need to say “thank you” to your wife.
• When she makes dinner. It’s so nice to be acknowledged for an everyday duty. 
• When she gives you a birthday gift, or cake, or makes a special meal.
• When she brings your baby into the world. That’s no easy task. A thank you and even some flowers may be in order. After all, she just did an amazing thing. And as a result you have posterity. 
• When she buys you a treat at the grocery store, something she knows you like that you might not stick into the grocery cart for yourself.
• When she hangs up your coat when you forgot to.
• When she brings you a glass of water or any other item you might have wanted.
• When she rubs your back.
• When she responds to your romantic gestures and makes your life memorable again.
The list is unending. It’s simply this: thank her whenever she does something for you or makes you happy in some special or simple way. Look for ways and times to thank your wife. It means you’re noticing the kind things she does, and that matters significantly.

These are only 6 of the 22 questions husbands need to ask themselves, but it’s a start. Do these and you will see a smile on your wife’s face and a glow return to your marriage.

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